Where We Work
Returnees from conflicts abroad also known as Returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters (RFTFs) are the predominant manifestation of violent extremism in the Western Balkans. Countries in the Western Balkans have had some of the highest number of returnees per capita in the world. Individuals who travelled, and in some cases fought in Syria and Iraq had various motives, usually a mix of personal drivers and justifying ideological objectives. Lack of employment, poverty, and low levels of education further contribute to vulnerability to violent extremism in the Western Balkans.
In Kosovo six men, one woman and four children were returned with support from the United States. Following a court ruling, the six men were arrested while the woman was put under house arrest. Coordinated by the Minister of Internal Affairs, returnees receive support from the relevant government institutions for their rehabilitation and reintegration.
Our grant portfolio aims to provide reintegration, rehabilitation, and resocialisation (RRR) support to returnees and their families, while working to strengthen the capacity of frontline workers and nurture an enabling environment for RRR throughout the country.
Trauma workshops for children
There is a difference between the first day that we met the children and after three months of working with them – we have fostered mutual trust. Children feel more relaxed and free around the trainers to discuss different topics.
They have developed empathy while socializing with different children and are now more likely to take self-initiative, such as by starting a new game.
– Staff member, CDF
Pathways to Change
- Support the social inclusion and employment prospects of returned foreign fighters and their families.
- Improve youth welfare through civic activism, social entrepreneurship and skills training.
- Strengthen communities through cultural activities and sporting clubs.
- Mobilise youth to represent their interests through specialised civil society organisations and youth councils offering peer support.
- Build capacity of municipal authorities to support reintegration of foreign fighters in a systematic way.
- Train teachers, media and law students on preventing violent extremism and how to detect online radicalisation.
- Diffuse potential for ethnic violence through community dialogues.
5,320 beneficiaries were directly engaged through two main activities:
- Media coverage (TV, radio, online) of cultural activities to transform perceptions and change narratives about the town of Kacanik
- Public service announcements on early signs of recruitment and radicalisation to violent extremism, as well as referral mechanisms
17,600 community members participated in activities aimed at engaging local and municipal leadership, including:
198 youth members of political parties were trained on the dangers of violent extremism and effective responses
34 community leaders participated in regional conferences focusing on the role of institutional accountability in PVE
123 municipal leaders (84 men and 39 women) were trained on facilitating reintegration of returnees and their families that brought together police officers, sociologists, and PVE experts to support local leaders
More than 50 Municipal Safety Council members from three municipalities were trained on PVE
In the last quarter of 2018, GCERF grantees organised employment fairs to connect youth to potential employers and career paths.
116 youth were trained how to establish a profitable social enterprise
10 trainees were selected for funding at a pitching event
5,630 individuals directly participated in sports and cultural events designed to change the way they view themselves and their community.
10 youth theater performances were held to strengthen youth confidence in expressing their ideas, bonding with their peers, and developing public speaking and teamwork skills
21 football clubs (12 for boys and 9 for girls) were established across 12 primary schools, to bring together students from different schools in order to help reduce or remove complex community stigmas – including against returnees and their families